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SnowKlondike
Currently Being Moderated

Has anyone had better success with Blurb (online books) than I have?

May 9, 2012 8:19 AM

Tags: #lr4

Blurb has been such a disappointing experience for me - I hope Adobe re-thinks aligning LR4 with them. 

 

After printing my first book ($70), the page numbers were cut off, page colors way off, text off center and author's name cut off of the bottom hard cover - all within the LR4 template guidelines.  When chatting (no phone calls possible by the way) with customer service, no response on my issue for days.  When I sent an e-mail asking for an update they replied that if I asked about my issue again that my case would be sent to the back of the line.  When I asked to speak with a customer service manager (hoping for a normal person) I was sent a reply with Blurb's return policy link.  Finally, when they sent a note that they would promise to re-print the book (so late it will miss my special event & presentation of my book since this "chat" dialog took 2 weeks to complete and the printing another 10 days) they said the issue is "now resolved".

 

This group is not up to the standards of Adobe customers in my opinion.  I hope others have had better experiences.

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2012 1:52 PM   in reply to SnowKlondike

    My book was printed in Europe and I had none of the problems you experienced. However, the quality of the printing was at best average, noise was far more visible than in other prints I have had made from the same files. I notice that if you select print to PDF there's a JPEG Quality slider which defaults to just 60 but there is no quality option when you use Blurb. I am left wondering if  sending to Blurb uses a similar low quality setting and that is making the images more grainy.

     

    It's also ridiculous that the ICC profile supplied by Blurb can't be used with Lightroom.

     

    Adobe urgently need to add more publishers as well as more templates with less US-centric sizing.

     

    Would I use Blurb again? Maybe but I'll try some other publishers out before going back to them.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2012 1:26 AM   in reply to SnowKlondike

    i have used it once after LR 4 came out. compared to the company i normaly use it´s no competition.

    the print quality is worse and it´s more expensive.

     

    if you have so many issues then the company i normaly use here in germany would send you a correct book for free without any questions.

    i had this once. the machine who cuts the pages was not setup properly so i had different borders left and right (2 mm difference).

     

    i will not use blurb again. i stick to the company i used for years.

     

    what made me wonder, in some reviews of LR4 the normaly overexcited american "reviewer" at lynda, kelby training and co. said the blurb quality is "not bad".

    when they are so reserved i already thought something must be wrong.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2012 7:52 PM   in reply to SnowKlondike

    I was dissapointed when I saw that the LR4 "book" module was only a Blurb module, being so closely tied that LR tells the Blurb pricing for your book.

     

    My impression of Blurb in the US is not good.  It is not possible to have a telephone conversation with anyone in customer service.  Their "chat" service appears to manned by idiots--when I asked if they offered a binding that would lie flat when open, I was told to order several books of different sizes and judge for myself which was best at lying flat.  

     

    My second bad experience involved product quality.  The soft cover curled terribly and could not be straightened. Knowing what I did about customer service, I just considered the book a total loss.  Never again for me.    I'd say Adobe made a mistake linking up with that outfit.

     

    On the other hand, if the Blurb association contributed to the LR price reduction, then that's a positive.  In any case I just ignore the so-called book module.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2012 8:47 PM   in reply to JerryGerber

    JerryGerber wrote:

     

    My impression of Blurb in the US is not good.  It is not possible to have a telephone conversation with anyone in customer service.  Their "chat" service appears to manned by idiots--when I asked if they offered a binding that would lie flat when open, I was told to order several books of different sizes and judge for myself which was best at lying flat.  

     

     

    Exactly why the Book module should not have been tied directly to ANY vendor ... what we have now is a method that works for Blurb and the rumored option for other vendors to get on board if they choose to work within the confines of what is available ... Instead, Adobe should have created an independent option ... and let ALL vendors offer options, not just a preferred single option ...

     

     

    JerryGerber wrote:

     

    On the other hand, if the Blurb association contributed to the LR price reduction, then that's a positive.

     

    I couldn't disagree more that if Blurb is underwriting the Book module is any sort of positive impact. I, for one, wanted a book module to ease my workflow so I could create wedding albums/portrait abums using the vendors and printers of MY choice using a single UI directly referencing my RAW files in Lr (by the way, Aperture 3 has been doing a great job of this since 2010 ... without locking you into a single vendor) ... not what Adobe thought would be a good idea. My photography is my livelihood ... what good does it do me as a professional to offer options from Blurb, that my clients can order themselves? I think they deserve more ... While I do appreciate the lower price for Lr4 ... I would be more than willing to pay the historical customary rate ... maybe even a bit more ... if I could get a Book module that was a REAL solution to my workflow ...

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 9, 2012 11:22 PM   in reply to Butch_M

    Hm ... I ordered my first "blurb book" (in Europe) via LR as a test. However, reading the comments, I now fear the worst . What I noticed so far is that delivery is way slower then with my normal company and that the price, Blurb is charging for posting en delivering the book, is expensif (and not mentionned as part of the price calculation within LR). 

     

    Jos

    Belgium.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2012 1:24 AM   in reply to howintheworld

    howintheworld wrote:

     

    Hm ... I ordered my first "blurb book" (in Europe) via LR as a test. However, reading the comments, I now fear the worst . What I noticed so far is that delivery is way slower then with my normal company and that the price, Blurb is charging for posting en delivering the book, is expensif (and not mentionned as part of the price calculation within LR). 

     

     

    if you have it.. don´t forget to tell us what you think!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2012 1:57 AM   in reply to -Agfaclack-

    Yes, will do that.

     

    Jos

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2012 3:32 AM   in reply to howintheworld

    I ordered one recently - a 12x12 hard cover with dust jacket, proline pearl paper, 40 or so pages with toned black and white (here).

     

    I was reasonably happy with what I received. It was printed in the Netherlands and arrived after 9 days - which would have 5 but for Easter. 

     

    The dust jacket was good, and I feel it's much the best choice. The only thing I didn't like was the bar code thing on its back - it was small though.

     

    Colour accuracy was acceptable, maybe reds a bit too saturated? I had some concerns about the shadows being blocked on a few pictures. In some cases this was my fault, but I would make some of the images a little lighter when I do another version of it. At least, I would review the shadows end of the histogram a lot more carefully (and would love a smart collection or filter to find all images >5% blocked pixels) .

     

    Paper choice was also good and I preferred it to the standard.

     

    Of course, none of the above satisfaction invalidates some of the concerns expressed earlier in this thread.

     

    John

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2012 3:48 AM   in reply to john beardsworth

    So far, I've ordered three (and received two) books using the book module.  I've used blurb before, a couple of times, so knew what to expect.

     

    I like that I don't have to keep revising and exporting to make the book.

     

    I don't like how many bugs they added to the already buggy blurb interface.

     

    That said, I won't be using it for any "good" books.  Blurb is "okay", and I'm using it for quick and dirty books that don't take me much time, and don't matter that much.  I'm still looking around to find a company that does a better job than just "okay".

     

    Cheers!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2012 7:11 AM   in reply to Jasonized

    I ordered three books directly form LR 4 and had a bad experience.  On all three books the first half dozen pages pulled out while very carefully looking through the book.  It was obvious that the bonding was defective toward the front of the book.  All three had to be reprinted.  One book had to be reprinted two times before getting a good bond.

     

    I agree that their print quality is just "okay".  In my case, they were responsive about getting the books replaced.  They just asked me to send them a photo of the defective books.  

     

    In the meantime, I had to give my granddaughter one of fthe defective books for her birthday and promised her a good book soon!

     

    Adobe would do their users a service by hooking up with at least one or two other printers.   I think the book module is a good start and has good potential.

     
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  • Andrew Rodney
    1,391 posts
    Apr 16, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 10, 2012 11:53 AM   in reply to Sddeam

    Sddeam wrote:

     

    I ordered three books directly form LR 4 and had a bad experience.

    Me too. Compared to a book with IDENTICAL (rendered TIFF) images output from Aperture, night and day difference. Same image on cover also printed inside the book was hugely different in color and tone on the Blurb sample. It isn’t the images, that’s for sure. They printed really nicely in that ‘other’ product.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 13, 2012 12:00 AM   in reply to -Agfaclack-

    Well, my first blurb book was delivered well before the estimated delivery date. Mine was also printed in the Netherlands.

    Quality was ok, value for the money. My only comment is that all pictures are ever so slightly "overexposed".

    Before sending the book, all photos were corrected for print in lightroom. Normaly, as you know, a print is slightly darker than what you see on screen. Not the Blurb book though.

    All by all, the first result is satisfactory.

     

    Jos

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 20, 2012 2:47 AM   in reply to SnowKlondike

    so i had to print 3 books for my sister from recent vacations and i thought i could try BLURB again.
    quality was not so crucial.. my sister is no photographer.

     

    the colors are off.

    of course i made it as easy for blurb as i could. i send them sRGB images (my service of choice does color management and i can send them profoto and it will look as perfect as it gets).

     

    the shadows are to dark.

    where i have detail in books from my local print service BLURB only shows pure black.

     

    the cut was off by nearly 2mm on one book. but i knew that can happen with BLURB.

     

    overall i expect more from a service promoted in a product as lightroom.

     
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  • Andrew Rodney
    1,391 posts
    Apr 16, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 3, 2012 6:28 AM   in reply to SnowKlondike

    SnowKlondike wrote:

    First, LR4 has a new "soft proofing" tool in the Develop Module (lower left by the view options).  This is invaluable for the book making and will help tremendously with the underexposure and "off color" problems that seem to be an issue with many users.  Set the profile to Srgb (as this is the profile that Blurb uses) and use "Relative" intent. 

    Blurb’s output device isn’t sRGB (no output device produces sRGB other than an emissive display). So you are not soft proofing anything related to the output of the books! They use a CMYK output device (I believe an HP Indigo) on who knows how many papers. Each paper for that output device needs it’s own ICC profile to soft proof. And since this is a CMYK output profile, a profile you can’t soft proof in LR, kind of moot. Blurb does provide a ‘generic’ CMYK profile that you could use to soft proof in Photoshop. Since it simply can’t describe all the possible papers and it is unknown if that profile even defines the printers current behavior, it is even questionable if using their CMYK profile in Photoshop for soft proofing is useful. Plus you can’t use it so you have zero control over the conversion process. You can’t pick something critical here, the rendering intent which is image specific. Or Black Point Compensation. 

     

    As for sRGB, you can pick either Perceptual or Relative Colorimetric in LR because there is zero difference (matric profiles file sRGB only have a Colorimetric table, you can pick Perceptual and you’ll get RelCol anyway). This confuses users of Adobe products but it isn’t a big deal, they only get on choice. It would nice if Adobe would gray out Perceptual when selecting such profiles to avoid this confusion.

     

    SnowKlondike wrote:

    This mode will show you what the results of your adjustments should look like when printed in your book - such a fantastic tool!

    It shows you what the image looks like converted from the internal color space to sRGB, nothing more. IF your book looks close, great. Imagine how much closer it would look if you could use the actual output profile with the paper and ink simulation! Unfortunately you can’t.

     
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